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[Comments] (3) Non-Terror of Fox Terrier: Today was a holiday but I worked in the morning because Sumana was at class. We met up in the afternoon and revisited the American Museum of Natural History. Sumana's interest was reactivated by a recent Colbert Report where Neil deGrasse Tyson showed Steven Colbert around the awesome exhibit of how big things are compared to other things. So we went and I took some pictures. In particular I took special pictures for Kris, the Northrups, and Rachel.

But this is the picture I want to talk about. NYCB gets results! In May 2006 I pointed out that the Natural History Museum blindly copies the ever-less-meaningful comparison of Eohippus to a fox terrier. But now they've changed that ancient sign to remove the useless comparison (and started calling the animal Hyracotherium instead of Eohippus, which is an apatosaurus/brontosaurus kind of thing).

It's all part of a wave of scientific hard-assedness that has swept the museum. Now, its ass was of remarkable hardness the last time I visited; the fourth floor is organized as a cladistic tree of the vertebrates, and just about every mini-exhibit has a cladistic diagram of the turtles or lungfish or whatever, and in those diagrams evolutionary branch points are labeled with the advanced features that marked the split! (I realize now I should have photographed some of those diagrams, but this should give the flavor.) It's amazing. But now they've kicked it up a notch by adding ominous warnings about falsifiability and updating the display placards.

Anyway, congrats to the AMNH for stopping telling kids that something they've never seen before is the same size as something they've never heard of, giving them facts without imparting knowledge.


Comments:

Posted by Brian Danger Hicks at Mon Feb 18 2008 22:17

I am very disappointed that you simply labeled picture 15 "Spikes" rather than using the more descriptive term Thagomizer.

Posted by Kris Straub at Tue Feb 19 2008 02:09

As the Directorate would say,

)))))) ) ) ) ) ) ) )

Posted by Leonard at Tue Feb 19 2008 10:48

Brian: I knew there was some reason I took that picture but even when I was taking the picture I couldn't remember.

Kris: The Directorate is based on Woodstock?


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